Project Runway winner and designer behind kids’ fashion line La Miniatura, Jeffrey Sebelia dishes about his über cool kids’ line.
“First question (it’s on all of our minds!): Given that you and Heidi Klum both have kids’ lines, what are the chances of an upcoming Project Runway Kids show?” He shakes his head and laughs. “She’ll have to really step up her game before that happens.” That’s Jeffrey —the bad boy instigator who had us glued to Project Runway (Season 3) and most recently, Project Runway All Stars.
“What would be fun,” he continues, “is if the kids worked with professional seamstresses, and you could tap into their minds for design, but a seamstress sewed the garments.”
Now on his fifth season in kids’ fashion, Sebelia admits that it surprised him how much he connected with childrenswear. “As a designer, of course I love womenswear. I also love menswear and making things that I like for myself,” he says. Although initially rebuffing the idea of childrenswear, he found he was compelled by the challenge of it. “I love creating something that’s both exciting and appropriate, elevated without being too sophisticated.”
His rebellious streak is in the DNA of the children’s fashion brand. As Sebelia tells it, he had been working as a creative director of a women’s fashion company, when friends approached him (their son was the same age as his) and asked if he’d be interested in collaborating on a high end boys’ line. He jumped in, designed the line, called in sick at his job, and went to market. “The response was polarized,” Sebelia admits, as his shrunken suit jacket silhouettes and the bright colored skinny jeans were very different from what had been hanging on the racks for boys before. People loved it or didn’t get it.
Despite its love-it-or-not beginning, La Miniatura has gained a strong foothold in the cool kids’ market — and certainly seems to have Hollywood smitten. Travis Barker was the first customer and the brand has been spotted on the Jolie-Pitt kids and Mason Disick (Kardashian) to name a few. Sebelia chalks this up to the creative mindset. “They are actors, creatives, out there looking to be interested. I’m grateful that these families have chosen La Miniatura fashions.”
No doubt we will see this season on the pages of People, as the strong florals and graphics are cool, comfy and chic, hitting the high points for kids and parents alike. Sebelia says the spring-summer 2014 line was inspired by Saigon, where parts of the line are made. “I was in my hotel room looking over the city and was struck by the colors. I incorporated the rich brights (turquoise, red) and pastels (pink, peach), and used fabrics that call back to the beautiful Asian city.”
His most recent stint on Project Runway All Stars helped to expose the brand to a greater audience, which he hopes will build the brand further. So if you weren’t tuned in already, it’s time to watch, as Jeffrey goes back to the mannequin and experiments with fresh fabrications and techniques to keep our kids in cutting-edge style, not afraid to break some rules along the way.